The fact that there are 2.4 million orphans in Uganda is often used as justification for the development of orphanages. But the number also begs to question, "Is it possible to find loving families for 2.4 million orphaned children"?
The shear number of orphaned children often elicits images of parentless children, destitute, and living on the streets or heading households.
Fortunately the reality is much different and the solution much more feasible.
This is the important part. Of the 2.4 million orphaned children 94% of them are single orphans meaning they still have either a mom or a dad. The remaining 6% have experienced the death of both parents and are double orphans. So 2,256,000 children are single orphans and 144,000 children are double orphans
This means that all of nearly all orphaned children are in single parent households or with next of kin. In fact even those who are double orphans are most often cared for by their extended family.
In Uganda children are traditionally raised by the whole family- moms, dads, aunties, uncles, grandparents and even siblings share the responsibility of raising a child. As families are large, often hundreds of relatives strong, the death of a parent does not mean the child has no caregiver or even that they have even experienced the death of a primary caregiver.
This is not to say the need isn't great or that these children haven't experienced loss or grief. They have. In fact they are many more children who have parents and family, but are vulnerable for other reasons.
However, what we know it that children very rarely find themselves without familial care. Even where child protection issues arise there are other family members who can step in to care for the child.
While HIV/AIDS and poverty has strained these families, this incredible network is still intact. It simple needs support.
This is where Thrive steps in.
For example, where families of these children are providing shelter, care and meals we can help them to provide school fees and medical support. In fact these measures are incredible cost effective and in the best interest of the child.
At Thrive we know it is possible for every child to have a promising future at home in the care of their families and communities.